Employees with Navarro Research & Engineering, the EM Nevada Program's environmental program services contractor, are shown at work at the Nevada National Security Site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Navarro recently achieved 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.
Employees with Navarro Research & Engineering, the EM Nevada Program's environmental program services contractor, are shown at work at the Nevada National Security Site prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

LAS VEGAS – The EM Nevada Program recently reached a major milestone when its environmental program services contractor reached 3.5 million hours without a lost workday due to a safety incident.

The period for Navarro Research & Engineering’s 3.5 million hours extends more than 16 years and multiple contracts and contract teaming partners. A lost workday is an occupational injury or illness that results in an employee being unfit for work following the incident.

"The successes in safety over multiple contracts can be attributed to consistent engagement of personnel at all levels in the organization in work planning and execution where hazards are identified and mitigated prior to and during project performance," Navarro Environmental Safety and Health Manager Tom Bastian said.

The EM Nevada Program implements environmental corrective actions to address contamination resulting from historic nuclear testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and surrounding Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR).

EM’s mission in Nevada involves workplace hazards such as heavy machinery, radiological contamination, unexploded ordinances, work outdoors in excessive heat and extreme weather conditions, and slips, trips and falls that are a risk in every workplace.

Navarro employees who work at the NNSS and NTTR develop groundwater characterization wells, survey soils and industrial-type facilities for contamination, excavate land, and manage waste. Navarro adheres to DOE’s Integrated Safety Management System, which ensures safety is ingrained in management and work practices at all levels and stages of planning and execution.

Safety leadership has become a model best practice, through which EM Nevada and Navarro personnel are regularly trained to understand safety culture expectations, think for themselves, consider consequences, and act with health and safety first and foremost in mind. Without exception, every day in the field starts with both a daily operations call and a safety briefing, during which workers review procedures, acknowledge potential hazards, and address safety measures.

"Safety expectations are communicated with all personnel in safety leadership discussions, daily operation calls, and tailgate safety briefings. Safety issues or concerns are documented and addressed using a formal issues management system,” Bastian said. “These processes and employee commitment have been instrumental in the safe operations at EM Nevada.”

Another major component of EM Nevada’s safety culture is its experienced workforce. The unique hazards specific to their worksites are well known, and their experience gained over many years in the field helps prevent accidents.

“Ultimately, a collaborative environment has been developed where workers take responsibility for their own safety as well as the safety of their co-workers, which has contributed greatly to EM Nevada and Navarro's exemplary safety record,” Bastian said.